077: The Historical Jesus

What does the term “Historical Jesus” mean? Need we be scared of the Jesus of scholarship? How does the quest for the Historical Jesus differ from the Jesus Christ of faith or the man Jesus of Nazareth?

In this bonus episode co-produced by Mormon Matters and Feminist Mormon Housewives, Dan, Jared, Eric and Lindsay discuss the different ways we access Jesus, issues of faith, review historical sources and criteria, and touch on a few details about what we can know historically about Jesus, including the popular question of whether he was really a political insurrectionist.

If this podcast leaves you hungry for more, hopefully we will be able to record a follow up episode!

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Timeline Notes (Thanks to Brian Dillman for putting these together)

0:00        Introductory framing

2:42        Guest introductions and questions of the historical/biblical/faith Jesus

30:58     4 Quests for the Historical Jesus

40:57     Personal and Biblical versions of Jesus

51.57     Feminist Jesus

58:01     Sources: Pagan

1:06:12  Sources: Josephus

1:12:36  Names: Jesus, Christ, and Messiah

1:22:36  Sources: Paul

1:28:16  Sources: Gospels

1:37:43  Historical Criteria

1:47:48  Refutation of “Zealot”

2:00:30  Historical Birth

2:04:15  Final thoughts
Thanks to William Newman and James Estrada for the speedy post-production.

Thanks to Steven Nelson of Piano Guys for the bumper music.


Recommended Resources

Scholarly Introductions

John Meier, Marginal Jew

E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus

Bart Ehrman, Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium

Gerd Theissen, The Historical Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide

Dale Martin’s Yale New Testament lecture on the Historical Jesus

Historical Jesus resources at NT Gateway

Faith-friendly resources

Luke Timothy Johnson, The Real Jesus

Craig Evans, Fabricating Jesus

BYU’s 7 part series on the Messiah

Latest Comments

  1. kkp says:

    I haven’t listened to the podcast (yet!), but I was wondering if you could suggest one (or two) scholarly book(s) that might be best to start with.

    Also, has anyone read “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” by Reza Aslan? Is it good/worthy to be included in the list above?


    • Jared Anderson says:

      From what I have heard Zealot is a well-written entertaining read (as would be expected from a creative writing professor), but Aslan is not a New Testament scholar and I disagree with his fundamental conclusion.


  2. Kevin Ward says:

    What a tremendous episode, well done. I would be up for more bonus episodes. Also, I hate to ask a painfully obvious question, but are there any recommendations for online courses on scripture study. I’d prefer those centered around LDS doctrines, but that’s not a must. Thanks for a great resource, I’ve already listened to the bonus episode twice.


  3. Kevin Pinder says:

    Dan, Jared, Eric and Lindsay:
    Fascinating discussion. The more I listen, the more inspired i become. I have listened while driving and getting ready in the morning and have so many things i want to go into greater depths.
    My inclination is to ask you for notes on items discussed but you have done the work on your end and i will need to do it on mine.
    Just want you to know your message and work is well received.


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